The Passing Of The Tribe

Leaving my helmet on shale,
I will stretch my brown right hand,
taking a sword out of mist,
a cold limb from a hollow sea.

Though with my sword I would be one other
clashing through singing thunder,
ringing steel orchards,
simian I will come to a grave,
kneeling to a lament of spears,
remembering by green music
how children of my lemon land,
praying into the heart of night,
put out pinniform arms to the stars
and whispered of avenues of roses.

How sunlight failed the good pear tree
and country virgins knelt their eyes
from milk and corn to golden woodflame,
and the shy lame man who smiled at me
from a circle of quiet fires.

by Eric Ratcliffe

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